Lawsuit Filed: Man Loses Ability to Walk in Acute Care Hospital

Palmdale, Calif. — After being admitted to Palmdale Regional Medical Center due to repeated vomiting, Martin Britton was administered psychotropic drugs, which were used to chemically restrain him during a period of approximately two months. It’s alleged that during these two months, the facility failed to provide Britton the basic standard of care, ultimately resulting in Britton losing his ability to walk and developing a life-threatening pressure sore.

Garcia, Artigliere & Medby filed a lawsuit against Palmdale Regional Medical Center for alleged elder abuse, pursuant to the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. It is alleged that the facility’s chronic understaffing is to blame for the alleged abuse sustained by the plaintiff while being treated at Palmdale Regional Medical Center, a Los Angeles County general acute care hospital.

“Martin entered the hospital fully able to walk and perform all activities of daily living. Within just one week, he was diagnosed with a pulmonary disease, intubated and put on life support,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Unfortunately, during his residency, the staff apparently severely neglected him, leading to the development of a potentially life-threatening pressure sore. Once Martin was finally transferred to another facility and removed from the psychotropic drugs he’d been administered, he began to recover, but only to face the daunting challenge of learning how to walk again.”

Allegations and Background

According to the lawsuit, Palmdale Regional Medical Center repeatedly failed to provide the degree of care that Britton required, withholding critical medical and nursing care from him. In addition, the complaint states that Britton was unlawfully administered psychotropic drugs to chemically restrain him, without his consent, his legal representative’s consent, or his physician’s consent.

During the period in which he was unlawfully drugged, Britton allegedly lost his ability to walk and developed rashes and oral thrush. Furthermore, the lawsuit states that Britton developed a hospital-acquired Stage III or Stage IV pressure sore the size of a golf ball that was ignored by the facility’s staff. Per the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, hospital-acquired pressure sores of this severity are deemed a “never event,” which should never occur in a general acute care hospital.

The lawsuit also alleges that the injuries suffered by Britton were the direct result of the hospital’s refusal to provide sufficient training and staff to adequately care for him, opting instead to earn a profit on his stay, while keeping him chemically restrained.

Eventually, Britton was transferred to another facility. Upon his arrival, his condition was so poor that the staff thought he could possibly die. Fortunately, they were able to stabilize Britton, and once the psychotropic medications wore off, he was able to learn how to walk and swallow again.